Things to do in St Ives, Cornwall

A Guide to St Ives, Cornwall

There are many reasons to love Cornwall. From its rugged coastlines to its picturesque harbour towns and its thriving artistic community. But the charming town of St Ives has to be one of the best reasons to visit this spectacular county.
So, here are our top picks for how to spend a weekend in St Ives..

Where to Stay

Boskerris Hotel St Ives
Credit: Boskerris Hotel
Boskerris Hotel

The Boskerris is a small, stylish, coastal retreat with a contemporary Mediterranean style. The hotel has fifteen individual bedrooms, most with great panoramic ocean views. They also offer a spa with a range of relaxing treatments such as hot stone massages and reflexology.

Carbis Bay Hotel

Carbis Bay Hotel is the ideal retreat for lovers of luxury. Its privately owned 25 acre Blue Flag beach is one of the counties most beautiful bays and it’s onsite AA Rosette Restaurant offers fine dining at it’s best.

Carbis Bay Hotel
Blue Hayes

The Blue Hayes Private Hotel is perched on the hill rolling into St Ives and offers guests six sumptuous suites to choose from, each one features en suite bathrooms and all the mod cons you’ll need to make your trip to St Ives as relaxing as possible.

The Garnett 

The Gannet is situated in the pretty village of Carbis Bay, a mile from the quaint harbour town of St Ives, and a short valley walk from the award-winning Blue Flag Carbis Bay Beach. We love it’s boutique vibes and stylish interior decor.

The Gannet Inn St IvesThe Pedn Olva

The Pedn Olva boasts 30 distinctive bedrooms, a restaurant, bar, terraces and outdoor heated swimming pool – making it an ideal stay for a getaway break,  special meal or relaxing lunch.

Where to Eat & Drink


Since opening its doors in 2002, Alba has fast become the pinnacle of fine 5 star dining in St Ives, specialising in local produce, line-caught fish and seasonal vegetables. This former lifeboat house boats stunning views of harbour, bay and coast.  We recommend booking in advance for the Alba fine dining restaurant but there’s no need to book a table at the A Bar downstairs. This cosmopolitan space offers small plates, cocktails and coffee all day from noon.

Alba St Ives
Credit: Alba St Ives
Porthmeor Beach

Located in St Ives just below the TATE Gallery, this Café has a buzzing atmosphere, alfresco dining and imaginative cocktails. Head here for their famous ‘build your own breakfast’, extensive vegetarian menu and seafood tapas. The cafe also boats one of the best sunsets in all of Cornwall.

Porthminster Kitchen

Porthminster Kitchen serves up a playful take on Cornish cuisine. They’ve stripped out much of what they deem unnecessary and ‘dairy and gluten take a backseat in favour of fresh and exciting textures and flavours’. Head here for awe-inspiring panoramic views from its location in the heart of St Ives. From your vantage point above the harbour,  you’ll be able to escape the hustle and bustle and relax on their sun-drenched terrace.

Porthminster KitchenScarlet Wines

Scarlet Wines & The Vineyard Table is a wine shop, delicatessen and restaurant located in Lelant, near St Ives. They serve good wine and quality food in an unpretentious environment. Scarlet Wines is continually evolving its selection of hundreds of wines from around the world, craft beers, local ciders and first class spirits. They also have a deli serving the best local delicacies plus hard to find ingredients from Spain and Italy.

Places to Shop

The Painted Bird

Lifestyle store with a broad and unusual product range; from sun-catchers to owl cushions, mosaic mirrors to bronze hares. The Painted Bird aims to have something for everybody, yet be different from high street shops.

The Painted Bird St Ives
The Painted Bird
Blue Wing Gallery

Boutique jeweller selling unusual, unique and individual designs in contemporary silver jewellery. Blue Wing boasts collections of hand-made and high calibre craftsmanship jewellery, distinctive in style.

St Ives Bookseller

Established in 2001 this independent bookstore aims to stock something for everyone, with a large general range of over 5000 titles. The children’s section is particularly tempting, as are the central tables packed full of titles to browse through, from prize winners to holiday reads, from well-known local authors to independent gems.

Academy and Co

Academy & Co

An independently owned and operated Clothing and Lifestyle store selling men and womens apparel as well as unique, contemporary homewares.


A real treasure trove of crystals, precious stones and jewellery.

JOHNS Wine & Spirits Specialists

One of Cornwall’s longest running family businesses and a mecca for rare and unusual spirits. JOHNS’ ethos is all about sourcing the best possible drinks they can get their hands on and selling them at some of the most competitive prices.

Things to do

Visit The Barbra Hepworth Museum

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden offers a remarkable insight into the work and outlook of one of Britain’s most important twentieth century artists. View sculptures crafted in bronze, stone and wood on display in the museum and gardens, along with paintings, drawings and archive material. More information.

Explore The Tate Gallery

No visit to St Ives is complete without a visit the iconic Tate St Ives gallery, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The museum/gallery had undergone extensive renovation in recent years and now offers a state of the art space for art lovers to  appreciate artwork by modern British artists with links to the St Ives area.

Browse Many Galleries

St Ives has nurtured a real artistic community over the years and there’s a huge array of art galleries to explore during your visit. Take a look at the artist talent that the local area has to offer and maybe even come away with a print or too.
Great galleries include: Porthminster GalleryPenwith Gallery, Waterside Gallery & The Whistlefish Gallery

Stroll Along the Beaches

Thanks to its irregular-shaped coastline, St Ives offers dozens of beaches in all directions to enjoy. Their Blue Flag beaches are some of the best for surfing and windsurfing in the country, while there are also quiet sheltered inlets that are ideal for sunbathing and quiet strolls. More more information on St Ives beaches make sure you check out

Have you visited St Ives, Cornwall? We’d love to know your recommendations for places to visit and things to do. Let us know in the comments below..

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *